Sunday, January 25, 2009

Christian diversity

“In a typical evening, an American family might drive their Japanese car to a Mexican restaurant, return to their Tudor home to watch a western on TV and listen to some reggae music. Contemporary culture, like postmodernist art, is definitely eclectic. Surrounded by diverse styles and cultures, we pick and choose form a global smorgasbord. We are told that we live in a pluralistic society, that we work in a global economy, that we must develop multicultural awareness,” G. Veith, Postmodern Times (CB 1994), 143.

“So when Obama says, ‘We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth,’ he's not far away from plugging the multicultural idea, more prevalent in Western Europe than here in America, that every culture has the same moral worth—except maybe ours, which is worse. That's a very dangerous and wrongheaded way of thinking. And it's directly contrary to the way our first black president—and our first Catholic one—won their elections. Kennedy excelled and Obama excels at speaking the English language. The civic culture they mastered was our Anglo-Protestant culture, despite the fact that one went to a Catholic church and the other's father was a citizen of Kenya (and not, I think, as people tend to say, an immigrant: I presume he was in the United States on a student visa, and we know that he went home to Kenya and participated in politics there).”

“The prognosis is grim. Between 2000 & 2050, world population will grow to over 9 billion people, but this 50% increase in global population will come entirely in Asia, Africa, & Latin America, as 100 million people of European stock vanish from the Earth. But the immigration tsunami rolling over America is not coming from ‘all the races of Europe.’ The largest population transfer in history is coming from all the races of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they are not ‘melting and reforming'.”

These statements should alert us to the need to distinguish between secular conservatism and Christian conservatism. The social fabric does, indeed, require some common values and unifying principles, without which it will unravel.

But the problem with these statements in the way they locate unity and commonality in ethnicity and culture. In terms of Christian priorities, that’s the wrong focus.

There’s nothing wrong with the US becoming more racially or culturally diverse. There is a problem with the US becoming more secular or religiously diverse.

For example, San Francisco would be far better off with more Christian Chinese-Americans and fewer white liberals.

What we need is not a European or Anglo-Saxon common denominator, but a Christian common denominator. We need to resist the danger of replacing secular multiculturalism with secular monoculturalism. That’s a reactionary stance rather than a constructive alternative. A common faith, not a common race or culture, is the key.


  1. Excellent analysis.

    Perhaps the situation with the Anglican Church with an African archbishop leading the way against modernism is a indicator.

  2. "For example, San Francisco would be far better off with more Christian Chinese-Americans and fewer white liberals."

    A not-so-subtle hint by Steve Hays to Patrick Chan:

    Please move to San Francisco.

  3. Hi Patrick,

    If I may hazard a guess...

    UC Beserkeley?

    AACF (Asian American Christian Fellowship)?

  4. One is correct, the other isn't. But I won't say which is which. :-)

  5. Well, I happen to know that Patrick was a computer sci major at Stanford until his roommate, a covert CIA operative, got him expelled just before he graduated. Patrick now works at Buy More. (Well, that’s his day job, when he isn’t helping Sarah Walker foil the bad guys.)

    So, by process of elimination, that leaves the AACF.

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